We all hate spam and get way too much of it, agreed? Now that we have that out of the way it is important to realize that if your e-mail is spammy you risk your e-mail not getting through to the intended party.
Two factors are at play here. Sending e-mail with red flags that trip spam filters and not reviewing your trash before you empty it.
Bounce Backs Note Why
I have clients who send me bounce-back messages reflecting their e-mails were being returned. They erroneously automatically assume it is their server that is not operating properly or "something is broken". The fact is their e-mails are being blocked because their emails are spammy! And those messages state the reason for being returned.
To avoid your e-mails being misidentified as spam, you need to be aware of a couple things. Several times each day, legitimate e-mail make it into my junk/trash due to the sender doing or not doing certain things that trigger spam filters.
These issues will give your e-mail the best chance to make it to its intended party. ISPs, networks and spam filters have a constantly evolving list of criteria used to judge email "spam scores" to determine what e-mail gets through or not. High spam score; your e-mail is rejected or deleted.
Don’t Be Spammy Checklist
Here is a simple checklist that you can use to help your e-mails not be mistakenly marked as spam. Or worse, deleted or returned before read:
- Always include an appropriate, short and accurate SUBJECT: field. Many times spam does not have a SUBJECT: or it is malformed without appropriate text. Some e-mail programs auto delete subjectless email to Junk/Trash.
- Type your subject with appropriate capitalization and structure. All lower case or all caps gives the impression of being spam. Not only by filters, but as viewed by recipients.
- Refrain from using common terms abused by spammers in your subject and/or first paragraph of your email. You know what they are – you see them every day. Many spam filters track these terms and may inadvertently send your email right to Trash.
- Make sure your name is formally displayed in the FROM: field. Example: Jane A. Doe is correct. All lower case or lack of punctuation here indicates the lack of online savvy typical of spammers and that your e-mail could be viewed as spam.
- Refrain from using any formatting just for the sake of doing so. Formatting text into fancy fonts, colors or bolding will trigger spam filters when combined with some of these other red flags.
- When using any sort of spam software or filtering system, before you purge your trash, it doesn’t hurt to take a quick peak to see if any e-mail from folks you know or recognize were identified as spammy. When that happens add them to your approved senders or whitelist to prevent future problems. Some programs allow you to right click and mark as “not junk”.
The takeaway? Don’t be spammy!
You can’t hate spam, but then do spammy things in your e-mail that gets them returned. You can’t complain about spam, then complain when ISPs, networks and software are identifying the typical signs of spammers in your e-mails causing yours to get deleted with the rest of the spam.
By keeping the above issues in mind, you increase the chances of your day-to-day communications getting to the intended person on the other side.